Matthew 10:7-8

"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hello! It seems like it has been such a very long time since I've greeted you. As I've become busier the last few months, my times to write don't present themselves as easily as they used to. The last few days, however, I really started to have a desire to write. We haven't talked in awhile, so let me just say that I hope this finds you well.

I was working outside yesterday and as work occasionally will do it takes me to various cemeteries to help place memorial stones on graves. When I am able to do this, I enjoy looking around at the memorials already in place to see what people either wanted engraved on their stone, or what a family chose to have written about their loved one. Yesterday, there were two in particular that just reached out and grabbed me. The first one had been engraved above a man's name: I GLORY IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST. The second was above the names of a married couple. One of them having passed from this life just a few years ago. They had married in 1952 and at the top of their stone were the words: JESUS, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

In an age where we often look for new revelation and vision regarding the times in which we are living, sometimes the most basic, but strongest principles of foundations of faith can tend to be forgotten. Maybe at times we need to revisit some of the faith basics that were taught and developed years ago. One example would be how many of us can recite John 3:16 so easily and quickly that we forget to take time to think about the depth and power behind that verse. I've heard Psalm 23, or parts of that psalm read or recited at times in some very monotone voices. I'm not being critical; but contemplating.

The last handful of years of my life I've really become intrigued and captivated by how close I am to the kingdom of Jesus even as I live. It's easy for me to stay focused on that because for most of my soon to be 50 years I didn't realize how I actually could be a part of kingdom of heaven things activating into the earthly realm. In other words, heaven invading earth. Yesterday though, as I read, I GLORY IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST, there was a really sweet sense of stability and power that combined to stir my spirit. Even though it was very chilly outside there was a warmth that came all over me as I thought about the power of the cross of Christ!!!! Think on that. Think about how many principalities, rulers and even countries have fallen since the time of Christ, yet that power has stood for all time. Yes, I know that it often comes under attack, but no matter how hard a person or organization may try, the power that came from the cross at Calvary still penetrates into the darkest of places today. To glory in the cross of Christ. Something that brought familiarity from my faith basics back to me in a fresh and very alive way. The one whose body had been laid in that grave probably never realized how the words on his gravestone would one day warm the insides of a man he never knew on a chilly October afternoon. It made me wish I would have known that man. I wish I could have talked to him about his faith. One day I hope to do that.

JESUS, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR. For many of us, some of the very first words we learned in starting our journey of faith. A truth that can be sometimes taken for granted, like as if we earned the right to it. May that never happen, if it has, again. For a couple to choose to have those words placed on their gravestone, a couple that had married in 1952, they certainly had to realize the strength behind having a very personal belief in Jesus. I wondered how many times they had called upon the understanding of that basic truth to pour new cement to keep their foundation solid. For me on October 28 2011, that memorial stone stood as a living legacy to the saving power and grace of Jesus.

How long have you been a Christian? If you are like me and made a commitment to Jesus many years ago, what brought you to that place of time in your life? Take some time today to think back on those things. Were there some basic principles that kind of don't get thought of like they did back then? Make today a day of reflection. A day of renewing your love to Jesus. He was your first love you know. Not because you loved Him, but because He chose you! In fact God said through one of His prophets, even years before Jesus lived as a man, "FEAR NOT, FOR I HAVE REDEEMED YOU; I HAVE CALLED YOU BY YOUR NAME; YOU ARE MINE." I have some further thoughts on that verse, but they will come in "Back To Some Basics" (part 2). Thoughts that were stirred up as a result of a conversation with my very own beloved mother! For now though, let us think about what it means to have Jesus as our savior and the beauty of the cross. The beauty of the cross; what an interesting way to describe a place that carried with it horrendous pain and death. Paul the apostle spoke of that cross in his letter to the churches of Galatia.


Oh, and if you are reading this and don't know how to begin to have a personal relationship with Jesus and have wondered about it, you can find my email address when you click on my profile. If there is a burning sensation in your heart right now that is the Lord desiring you to come close to Him. Today is YOUR day! I would love to help you find a new beginning for an exciting next chapter of your life. Also, for the one reading this and for some reason you have found yourself drifting away from what once was a sweet time with Jesus, the video below is especially for you!

Peace and love,
Mark S.

(Don't forget to shut off the music from the mix-pod on the right of this post.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Just a few days ago on Friday morning, I hurt my back. I was in an awkward position when I helped to move something fairly heavy at work. As soon as I lifted, I felt the pull and along with it a sharp pain. I was glad that I was able to continue on and to do so without anybody noticing, but I knew that I was in trouble. I chose to keep working and really wanted to make it through the day. With God's help, I was able to do it, but by the time I got home the pain was extremely intense. I was pretty uncomfortable throughout the weekend and there was nothing I could do to bring any relief.

I hate to go to the emergency room, but gave it some serious thought this time. The current season of life that I am in, however, finds no health insurance so I decided a few different times over the weekend that going really wasn't an option. I don't tell you that for sympathy. It's simply a season of life that I am in. God has sustained and I know He will continue to do so until this season passes. I am very content and at peace with where things are at in my life right now. I only say that because I can almost hear someone say, "Well, if your back was as bad as you say, why didn't you go to the doctor!!!!" (I sure hope that wasn't you! Ha ha)

Friday and Saturday nights didn't go well and any sleep was short lived. Saturday and Sunday were not fun days and even though I tried to get ready for church Sunday morning, I decided not to go. I'm sure that was a bad choice on my part. I know that my church family would have gladly laid hands on me and prayed over me for healing, but in the moment of it all I just wanted to lie back down. By Sunday night I wasn't sure how I could work on Monday (today as I write this) even though I really wanted to. Late at night however, after attempting to go to bed, I ended up doing something that I've been thinking a lot about; and have wondered why the light bulb didn't turn on in my head earlier in the weekend. I had made a few attempts to read my Bible and pray over the weekend, but found it really difficult to concentrate and could only be still to read for only a moment or two.

So here I was Sunday night wondering what I was going to do come Monday morning. It was then that I decided to get online and to listen to Elijah Streams offers some pretty sweet prophetic and worship music. I was also thinking that the weekend had come and gone and time spent with the Lord had been pretty much absent. As I pulled up the stream and began to listen, I silently prayed, "Lord, I really haven't spent time with You this weekend. I kind of feel bad about that so I am asking that even should I be able to drift off to sleep that my spirit will continue to speak with You all night." Even though I also asked the Lord to heal me, I was thinking more as to how I had missed fellowship with Him and that was what I really needed. I started listening to the worship music and began to think about our amazing God. I remember hearing Keith Green, a beautiful song that I was sure was done by Kari Jobe and another worship band and................that was it. The next thing I knew it was around 3:30, I could hear some soft worship music and I thought of how I had been in a really deep and relaxing sleep. I thought about my request to the Lord and remember smiling. I also remember thinking that I barely noticed my back aching, but then went right back to sleep. I woke up again a little before 6:00 and was aware that Kay was about to leave for work. I wanted to go back to sleep, though, because I felt so relaxed and peaceful. It had been a good night indeed.

After sleeping another 45 minutes, I did get up and began to get ready for work. Even though I still felt sore, I knew my back was a great deal better and was pretty sure that I would be able to work what I knew was going to be a pretty long day. Even though I had to deal with some pretty heavy stuff and had to use my back much more than I wanted, I noticed that as the day progressed, my back was getting stronger. Even though I came home with still some soreness, it was very minor and I still can't stop thinking about God, the deep sleep that He put me in and the healing that He brought. The biggest thing though, is that I want the Lord to tell me what we were talking about last night. I know that my spirit man had to be worshiping and in fellowship with Him, even as I slept. This evening I feel the Holy Spirit has reminded me of some sweet scriptures, too. In the previous post to this one, "To See and Be Seen," I share a friends vision (as told by him) of his spirit being in the Lord's presence. I shared some of my own thoughts on this and referenced scripture from Ephesians, but tonight I am reminded of scripture from Colossians. As much as I love the New King James translation, I think for now it is best suited to share it with you in the New Living Translation:

"Since you have been raised to new life in Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life IS HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD." (Colossians 3: 1-3) Make sure you also go back and read the Ephesians 2:6 passage.

Is it too much of a stretch for you to believe that there are times when the Father wants to welcome our spirit to visit with Him in the Kingdom realm? That maybe all we have to do is ask and desire such fellowship? If so, just think and pray about it. Search out the scripture. There was a time when I would have considered such a thought foolishness. Maybe even new age, but the more I study the scripture and investigate as to what Jesus really meant when He spoke of the Kingdom of God, it is not a stretch anymore. I believe that as I slept last night, my spirit found very intimate fellowship with Jesus and the Father. I know I am not the apostle Paul and I know that I haven't reached the level of faith that he operated in, but he spoke of being "caught up" into the heavens. (2 Corinthians 12: 2-4)

I think I am going to try to make even many more requests in letting the Lord know that I so desire to not only to fellowship with Him as the man He created, but also for my spirit to fellowship with Him............long after I fall asleep.

Sweet dreams, my dear friend,
Mark S.